Leader of the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC), Nonhle Mbuthuma, share’s her farming community’s struggle to defend their ancestral land from Mineral’s Resources Limited, (MRC) an Australian mining company with British investment. The people of Xolobeni town, on the Wild Coast of South Africa, fought for many years against the proposed gold mine and finally succeeded with their “Right to Say No” campaign in 2016. The proposed mine would have destroyed a 22km area of the Amadiba people’s riparian and coastal lands, polluting the waters upon which the community depends for their food and livelihoods..
The ACC wrote petitions, protested and created blockades along the coastline but the resistance was met with deadly violence when the previous chairman, Sikosiphi ”Bazooka’ Rhadebe, was murdered. Stepping up to lead her community, Nonhle, continually risked her life to keep the mining companies out but while they defeated MRC the threat never goes away. Now the South African government are looking to push through new mining contracts, without consultation, to help with its new Covid economic regeneration plan.
An incredible land defender, Nonhle, is now at the forefront of a campaign uniting communities across Southern Africa to assert their Right to Say No to unwanted mining. She will be interviewed by Colombian activist, Mariana Gomez Soto, who works with communities in similar situations in the Amazon.
Three African women, Jennifer Amejja, Edna Kaptoyo and Rita Uwaka, speak about the importance of women’s cultural, traditional knowledge and practice for food sovereignty, agroecology and community forest management. How they grow nutritious food, use and protect medicinal plants, select and exchange seed, establish vital community seed banks, provide livelihoods and support the local economy. Also how they protect forests, many of which are sacred, and ensure replenishment and restoration of watersheds.
Indigenous women are especially threatened by climate change and biodiversity destruction, yet their intimate knowledge makes them uniquely placed to protect and restore critical ecosystems; strengthen traditional food systems; conserve species; and transmit indigenous knowledge to future generations.
However, industrial plantation agriculture, often supported by governments and finance institutions in developed countries, is fuelling landgrabs, destroying local food systems, and accelerating climate change, biodiversity loss and human rights abuses, especially for women. How should we collectively address this critical issue?
AFSA is currently facilitating a campaign on mainstreaming agroecology in climate policies in 12 African countries and at the Africa regional level. The campaign includes mobilizing local actors, engaging government and reaching out to the general public through various media outlets. This session will share the experiences from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Togo. Sena Alouka from Togo we will share experiences of youth in rural Togo promoting agroecology for climate action and also share on the success that have resulted in Togo adopting an agroecology policy. From Kenya, Karen Nekesa we will share experiences of working with schools and county governments to promote Agroecology for climate change. Wilberforce Laate will present on the advocacy for climate action in Ghana linking it with Indigenous Knowledge and Culture. From Nigeria Ms. Joyce Ebebeinwe will share the experiences from Nigeria focusing on civil society advocacy to include agroecology into national climate policy amidst the push from industrial agriculture.
Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, will share ideas from his latest book 'From What Is to What If', exploring how we have allowed our collective imagination to contract and dessicate at the worst time possible. A zero carbon future, with a sustainable, resilient agricultural system, will be achieved, he argues, through creating the best conditions for the imagination and through inspiring examples. The next 10 years need to be many things, but they must also be, and feel like, a revolution of the imagination. Inspired by Rilke's statement that “the future must enter into you a long time before it happens”, his talk will be illustrated by inspiring stories and examples, and also will share some thoughts on how we might set about reviving our collective ability to see things as if they could be otherwise.
Goats play a transformative role around the world, particularly in harsh environments - reflecting climate, vegetation or conflict. They transform the most indigestible plant material into meat, milk and skins and are also increasing the economic independence and resilience of rural women.
Rothamsted is researching the role of goats in smallholder systems in Malawi and Botswana - focused on nutrition, socioeconomics and parasitology (through targeted selective treatment using metabolites from bioactive plants). Goats have always been a priority for Farm Africa, providing them to vulnerable women living in rural eastern Africa - supported by animal health and business development services, empowering them to increase incomes and improve their families' nutrition.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Bristol’s Street Goat connects families and individuals with the joys of working with animals and nature - increasing understanding of their food. Local people collectively manage and care for them in urban areas, producing sustainable and healthy animal food products reared on overgrown and unusable urban land.
African Earth Jurisprudence Practitioners from West and Southern Africa share their stories of working with traditional land-based communities in the revival of their seed and food sovereignty, the restoration of their sacred natural sites and the strengthening of their ecological governance systems, inspired by Earth Jurisprudence and indigenous cosmologies.
Across Africa, a network of Earth Jurisprudence Practitioners is accompanying traditional and indigenous communities in the revival and enhancement of their Earth-centred customary governance systems. African Earth Jurisprudence Practitioners from West and Southern Africa will share the philosophy and practice of Earth Jurisprudence and the work that Earth Jurisprudence has inspired on the continent: stories of accompanying rural communities in the revival of their seed and food sovereignty and traditional knowledge and practices, the restoration of their sacred natural sites and associated rituals, and the strengthening of their ecological governance systems derived from the laws of the Earth.
The transformation of the food system relies on the effective organising of locally rooted movements and struggles around the world. This work is impossible without challenging approaches rooted in the dominance of colonial languages (in particular English, French and Spanish) and without structures and platforms that ensure and facilitate for everyone’s voices and languages to be heard.
Agroecology at its heart respects the traditions and linguistic heritage of diverse land based cultures. Therefore, it must examine the history of the dominance of the colonial languages (English, French and Spanish) and discuss the pivotal role interpretation plays in social movement organising. In this session we will hear from interpreters working with La Via Campesina and other global grassroot farming groups and learn how ways of knowing the land can change with different languages.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has played a critical role in feeding local communities during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses and gaps in our global food production and distribution systems. In contrast, smaller more local farms and direct sales models are being celebrated as more resilient and veg box customer numbers soared in 2020.
Join this session to hear from CSA farmers in Europe and the global CSA movement Urgenci, about the different responses and approaches taken by CSAs throughout the pandemic. What has actually been happening on the ground? Has there been a boom in the CSA movement? There is growing recognition that family-scale farms using agroecological practices are an essential part of a system capable of providing healthy, nutritious food for all. It seems customers are hearing this message.
The importance of local, fresh, seasonal, healthy, sustainable food has gathered momentum, stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the need for food of high nutritional quality has yet to be widely recognised.
We are increasingly aware of the links between the heath of our soil and nutrient content of the food we produce. In this session, we will explore such questions as: Has the decline in soil fertility led to poor nutritional quality food? And what is the connection(if any) to the growing incidence of diet-related noncommunicable diseases? Will a shift to nature-friendly farming practices help produce nutrient dense food and help boost our gut microbiomes and general health?
This session will increase awareness of nutrient dense food, and showcase work from the Bionutrient Food Association and Newcastle University to improve transparency and prioritise nutritional quality in nature-friendly farming practices for better citizen health.